Friday, 10 January 2014

How to Make Your Facebook Account Crime-Proof

The Internet is rife with hackers and fraudsters, and to these cybercrooks, no target is juicer or more tempting than Facebook. With over a billion active users, Facebook provides plenty of opportunities for unscrupulous scammers to do their dirty work — whether it's stealing passwords, identities, or money and goods. Fortunately, there are a few easy ways that Facebook users can protect themselves from people who can do serious harm to your financial life.
If you want to crime-proof your Facebook account, just follow these four simple steps.

1) Choose A Strong Password

Some scammers commit cyber identity theft by hacking into your account and impersonating you to your online friends. Online security starts with a secure password. Believe it or not, many hackers are able to get your password and log in into accounts simply by making an educated guess. But if you follow a few simple principles, you can make a password that is virtually hacker proof.
  • Choose a password that is eight characters long
  • Use a mix of numbers and special characters ( like%,&,*and #)
  • Pick a password that is easy for you to remember
  • Change your password twice a year

2) Remove The Criminals From Your Friends List

You can end potential problems before they start by removing troublemakers from your friends list. By blocking criminals, you will deny them access to your posts, and the personal information that is meant for just your friends and family. The easiest way to tell if someone will commit a crime is if they have repeatedly been arrested and convicted in the past. You can run every name on your friends list through a website like Simply by searching for someone’s first and last name, you can pull public records and see if any of your Facebook friends have been convicted of a crime in the past.

3) Don’t Post When You’re On Vacation

Burglars regularly comb social media sites looking for potential targets. When someone reveals that they are out of town and their home is empty, that gives thieves a tip of who to rob next. The easiest way to avoid this problem is to simply avoid revealing your vacation plans until you have returned. It’s much safer to wait until you get home to share photos and stories of your trip.
If you absolutely must tell people on Facebook about the fabulous time you’re having, you could always use Facebook’s custom privacy feature.  You can choose to share your messages only with your most trusted friends and family members, and leave your vacation posts hidden from the rest of your friends list.

4) Beware Of Phishing Emails

Another common way crooks will retrieve your Facebook password information is through phishing emails. You might receive a message asking you to provide your email address and password for some reason, and the hacker will then use that info to access your account. Remember, Facebook will never send you your password as an attachment, ask you for your account password via email, or ask for your social security information.

Andy Sedaris is a blogger living in Mission Beach, California.  He writes about online security and social media.

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